The Top Food & Nutrition Trends for 2017

Tori Schmitt, MS, RDN, LD02/09/17

Happy 2017! The New Year provides a superb opportunity to reflect upon the food and nutrition trends in the past, and make predictions for the options that are likely to take hold in the coming year.

As a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, trending foods excite me – especially when they deliver nourishing nutrition. That is why in 2016 I was thrilled to see that pulses (dry peas, beans, lentils and chickpeas) took center stage – going beyond hummus and salad toppers and into burgers, noodles and breads. 

Also in 2016, from smoothie bowls to green wraps, people found beautiful and delicious ways to enjoy their leafy greens. People even loved sharing images of their beautiful creations to social media, too! With a growing interest in plant-based eating styles, enjoying healthy fats and less of a focus on calories and more focus on wholesomeness, 2016 brought welcome change to the way many people eat. As we look to 2017, I hope those food trends continue. 

Here my top predictions for the new food trends likely to take kitchens by storm in the coming year:

1)    Vegetables Get Versatile

So long dreary, soggy, steamed vegetables. Hello roasted, sautéed, mashed, riced, stir-fried, grilled and noodled veggies! Though steaming vegetables is indeed a good-for-you choice, in 2017 consumers now – more than ever – want delicious to accompany nutritious. From the prepared food section in your grocery store to restaurant menus, in 2017 you will begin to see more creative, tasty ways to enjoy vegetables. Take on the trend now in your own kitchens and enjoy pizza made with a broccoli and cauliflower crust, mashed root vegetables, noodles made from zucchini or carrots, or grilled cauliflower steaks.

2)    Fermented Foods & Prebiotics

From digestive health to immune health and mood support, as we continue to discover the myriad of health benefits of probiotics, consumers will become more savvy about the foods and supplements they are selecting. No longer will they choose only yogurts for probiotics, but 2017 will bring about more interest in fermented foods like cultured vegetables, sauerkraut, kimchi and kombucha to provide healthy probiotic support. And, as consumers learn that it takes prebiotics to help the probiotics thrive, they will become more interested in prebiotic-rich foods like jicama, raw garlic and onions, dandelion greens and Jerusalem artichoke.

3)    Savory Bowls

People are passing on the plate and beginning with bowls instead. While 2015 and 2016 brought us wide interest in smoothie bowls topped with colorful produce, bowls get even more attention in 2017 as sweet shifts to savory. To make these trendy Savory Bowls, combine one grain or bean, roasted vegetables, greens, a nut or seed, and a flavorful sauce. How about brown rice with roasted broccoli, sautéed Swiss chard, hemp seeds and peanut sauce? Or, try quinoa with roasted sweet potato, sautéed kale, pumpkin seeds and a lemony cashew dressing. Bowls allow you to play in the kitchen with unique flavors and experiment with the healthy, savory foods you love most.

4)    Sustainable Foods & Supplements

Sustainability takes on a whole new meaning in 2017! Beyond recycling packaged food containers, consumers will look for more ways for a sustainable future. How? I predict they will continue to adopt more plant-centric meals, will work to reduce food waste, and will choose foods and supplemental foods that are sourced from sustainable methods. This includes choosing sustainable sources of foods from the sea including seafood, sea vegetables (like nori and wakame), and supplements from the sea – like life’sDHA, a vegetarian option for omega-3 fatty acids, sourced from algae.

5)    Full-Fat Makes A Comeback

As researchers bust the myth that all saturated fat is bad (and realize that some saturated fatty acids may actually be healthy for you!), consumers will see a resurgence of full-fat dairy products, including yogurt and cheese. This will come as a long-awaited change, as more fat in foods enables a more flavorful taste and a creamier mouth feel. 

What trending nutrition theme are you most excited for in 2017? What else do you think will be hot in the coming year? If it is nutritious and delicious, you bet I am excited about it! Share your picks with me on Twitter @ToriSchmittRDN. 

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